Monday, October 04, 2010

Inquisition Monday

This comes from Sara.

I have been wanting to ask this for a little while. I love the idea of a "babymoon," waiting after the birth for some time to both go out into the world and also to welcome visitors. I think the people who would have the hardest time understanding this are my parents and in-laws. I have never seen you reference a post-birth visit by grandparents, and I wondered if you would tell us how that goes? Are they still around? Do you talk to them, do they understand, do they fight you on visiting and what they "deserve as grandparents?" Obviously I am projecting some of my own worries, but I hope you understand and would be willing to post or email.

First, my parents are over 1000 miles away, so that's not really an issue. Like with Margaret, because of airfares, they won't see Isaac until his naming and blessing later this month. He'll be over 3 months, just like Margaret was at her blessing.

McKay's parents are 2 hours away, so that's a little closer.

During the babymoon, I am ok with walks- and the Friday after his birth, we walked to the Rose Garden for newborn pictures. McKay's parents came to see him at 7 days old. I'm ok with visitors, it's just that I didn't want to go out. Unfortunately, I let myself be talked into going to the local ice cream parlor that day as well. I shouldn't have done that. We walked down to the restaurant, which was very busy and there was no real comfortable place to wait to be seated. Then after ice cream, we had to walk up the murderous hills to our apartment. That combined with the rose garden was a bad idea and set my lochia bleeding back a week. Yes. It was like I just gave birth and I was 1 week postpartum.

Because of that, I held very true for the rest of the babymoon to staying inside, even at 3 weeks when I was feeling much better. By 3 weeks postpartum with Margaret, I still had a heavy feeling in my abdomen when I wore her in the wrap- like my uterus was sad and tired. With Isaac, I didn't have any of that, though I did get to trade that misery for other kinds, so it wasn't rainbows and puppies either.

Now, I know I could have said that I didn't want to go to the ice cream parlor. Really, I should have said that, but I did feel like they drove 2 hours to see us and I felt compelled to be a good hostess. I shouldn't have. Really. Stick to your guns.

If I have another baby, I will have more specific babymoon guidelines for myself:

- Walks with the baby are ok. I know when I'm doing it too much, so don't do it too much.
- Visitors when I feel better are ok. I do not have to leave the house, and if they are being overbearing, use McKay to nicely direct them to something that needs to be done or out the door.
- Only necessary errands after I feel well. This does not mean groceries. McKay can do those. Necessary errands include registering for the birth certificate because both baby and mommy need to be there. That's actually the only errand I can imagine being necessary.
- LLL. I really love LLL. I didn't go to the meeting when he was 4 days old, but I did go a month later when I was still technically in my babymoon. But I love LLL and it was a month later and babies are very welcome and other moms are understanding about the postpartum time.

I did go back to church at 5 weeks this time (36 days postpartum), but it was the Sunday when Relief Society and priesthood lessons were combined, so I had McKay with me the entire 3 hours. If they had been separate, I would have waited another week.

As for help in dealing with visitors, use your husband. Talk with him about how important it is to you and have him be the one turning people away. Postpartum can be a very fragile time and you might feel like you have to be a good hostess like I did.

Also, I haven't done a review of the new edition of the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, but I like that at the end they have tear out pages for quick reference for breastfeeding and postpartum issues. One of the handouts is a page to put on your door that says that you aren't taking visitors- to ward off drop-bys. There's also a tear out page for chores that you can put out for visitors to do so that they are useful instead of in your way. And there's a tear out sheet for grandparents about how important the breastfeeding relationship is and that we have more studies and scientific knowledge about breastfeeding, so if you are doing things they aren't familiar with (like nursing on cue instead of waiting 3 hours), to trust your judgment. While you don't have to use their exact tear out sheets, making up your own list of chores or "please come by after this date: ______" sign might be a good idea.

Any readers have suggestions? Have you had to ward off well-meaning friends and family postpartum?

Oh- and to my in-laws who read this: I did enjoy seeing you. I just wish there was a way to eat ice cream without bleeding for an extra week!

7 comments:

  1. I had more of a babymoon with my last and fourth baby just recently, which is kind of surprising considering I have 9, 5 & 3 year olds to take care of too, but they are old enough to be pretty self-sufficient, and also I took what I needed and I let things go -- and -- friends helped with carpooling for school and stuff like that. (which means -- when people ask what you need or how they can help, let them, and remember that logistical help like that is often much more valuable than another baby blanket).

    I think the most important thing is to know yourself and keep your priorities in mind. I started walking (was back up to my daily 3 mile walk by week three) right away, bec. I feel so much better and sleep better when I exercise -- and I stopped bleeding around day 25.

    I spent almost the entire first week pretty naked in bed w/ baby, bec. breastfeeding is a priority -- so when the doorbell did ring, I ignored it, or sent the kids to answer and tell people that mommy was busy. I don't want to be rude, but people should respect the postpartum period (and most do, they just need some direction in how to do that best).

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  2. Thank you Heather! I love the ideas of making signs and a list of chores. And of course the idea of recruiting my husband. It seems like that should be obvious, but I hadn't thought of it this way. I know that if we can plan ahead, we all will be much happier and more confident in our actions. I look forward to any other responses your readers will share. I appreciate your time!

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  3. This is great. I tried to have a more relaxed babymoon this time, but it ended up being my most busy because of older kids and an 18 month old. Just no way around it, but it's been almost 8 weeks and I'm still spotting - so I guess I really do need to call in favors and take it easier.

    That's the best advice I have I suppose, to actually let people help you if they offer. That's *really* hard for me to do, especially if I'm feeling like I can do something myself, but if your neighbor offers to take your kindergartner to the bus, let them and don't feel guilty ;)

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  4. I didn't mind having family over, but I wasn't thrilled about seeing some particular friends. And that was hard to figure out what to say. I had one show up when I had my 1st baby when I was still in the hospital recovering from my traumatic c-section, and she was the last person who I wanted to see because she tends to take a lot of energy from the people she's around but is hard to speak up to. I had to tell her I was too tired to visit after 30 mins of her being there but it wasn't without a lot of guilt.

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  5. I've been wondering about your babymoon "rules"! Thanks for this post. I think I kept overdoing it. I've finally stopped bleeding. But, I went on several hikes, to the zoo, to a picnic, to church (one time while my husband translated through sacrament meeting, and I had to take care of both boys), and lots of other stuff...ALL within the first 6 weeks! I just get so sick of being home all the time and doing nothing.

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  6. I really liked the way my midwife phrased her recommendation for the post-pardum time. She said, "a week in the bed, a week on the bed, a week around the bed." I didn't exactly stick to that, but it certainly helped me make slowing down a priority.
    How long is your babymoon?

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  7. For me, babymoon means no visitors. I wouldn't let anyone, including family, come over during the 'moon because the family that could visit were the type to annoy me. Friends who came over only stayed long enough to drop off meals. I remember certain friends were annoyed that I'd told everyone that they couldn't see the baby until she was one month old. Oh, well! My kids, my life, my rules!

    I say: Do what works for you and don't worry about others. You have the rest of your life to visit with folks. If you want to be alone, you have the right to be alone.

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